As part of our Softube Dramwer 1973 Multiband Compressor review we had the great opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Paul Shyrinskykh from Softube. Paul was the responsible product owner of the 1973 at Softube and explained some insides to this outstanding plug-in.
Paul, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview and welcome to the Noizefield Talk Zone. In Q1 this year you released the Softube Dramwer 1973 Multiband Compressor and we where quite astonished by this fantastic plug-in.
How do you in general approach a new project like creating an emulation of an analogue compressor?
We approach it as any other project: we get the hardware and schematics from the manufacturer, model all the components and compare the model with the hardware. If we don’t hear any difference and cannot see any differences on measuring equipment, we release the product.
How did you came to the idea to create an emulation of the 1973 and how was the cooperation with Drawmer?
We realized, that it would be great to have a multi-band in our product line, so we started looking for some top notch hardware. 1973 has drawn our attention by unique feature set, and it suited both for mastering and mixing. It was my pleasure to work with Drawmer, they have great ideas about products.
For how long did you work on the 1973 and how many people where involved? Can you please explain a little about the different phases during the development from the idea to the final release?
Usually a project takes several months, and we try to involve every team member in the production process. At first a product owner does the feasibility study, and defines the product on paper. After that, modelling team does it’s job. Modelling is one of the most difficult and unpredictable part, there can be some complicated circuits that are tricky to work with. After the modelling is complete we test the software against hardware, design GUI and send it to beta team.
Can you give us a little production tip or do you have a secret function in the 1973?
You definitely need to check S73 presets, which we included in 1973, you’ll find there a lot of production tips and “secret weapon” settings.
When it comes to the emulation of real analogue hardware there are probably endless possibilities to simulate circuits, transistors and all the non linear behaviours. Do you have a special method to do this? Could you please explain a little how you transform the analogue circuit into code?
We have a patented technology invented more than 10 years ago, and we have been using it on every plug-in since then. It may look unreal to someone, who’s not familiar with Softube products, but the technology can be used to model compressors, EQs, amplifiers, etc. During modelling every part of the analogue circuit is transformed into digital code, then all the parts are added together like you would do in the analogue world. The final result is a digital copy of the hardware.
What does take the most time during development and what are the most complicated elements to simulate? Would an increase of CPU power also result in better sound and are you struggling with limitations like latency, CPU power or RAM?
Every circuit is very different, and it’s almost impossible to predict which part will cause problems. Initial model takes a lot of CPU at first, but our DSP masterminds optimize it to a point, when it takes only a few percent of an average processor. When I say optimize, I don’t mean “cut features or sound”. They optimize the code without any loss of the quality. With our current technologies CPU, RAM or latency is not a big problem. However when we make plug-ins for external DSP cards is completely another story, we fight for every bit of memory and DSP cycles there.
The Mid/Side feature in the Softube 1973 is a feature that is not available in the original hardware. This feature is a great and very useful addition. Have you also thought about other features like additional attack and release times or more bands?
Initially 1973 is a very thought through device, attack and release times are very well picked, filter sound for the bands is also very musical to me. There was only a couple things needed to enhance the unit, which would be very difficult to implement in the hardware – MS and side-chain. When I was creating sound design for 1973’s little brother Drawmer S73, I really appreciated how the unit sounded, attack and release times covered all the sound ideas I had in mind.
The 1973 is an impressive and very nice sounding plug in. In your opinion, what makes it so special?
Feature set and initial hardware design make it so unique. To my knowledge, 1973 is the only analogue sounding multi-band in the plug-in world.
A couple of month ago Softube released Modular. Will there maybe a 1973 module?
Possibly. However, Drawmer S73 would be a much more feasible choice for a module due to it’s compact design.